Gloria Jean Watkins is the full name of the woman, bell hooks we will focus on today.

I intend to share with you a little of what I vividly and blurredly remember.


Photo credit: The New York Times


I used to wonder why she always wrote her name this way.

I was in for a surprise; little did I even know that bell hooks weren’t even her birth name but rather,

she got it from her maternal great-grandmother, who was named Bell Blair Hooks.

I later learned that she always insisted for her writing or pet name, to be written that way!


Photo credit: Hoptown Chronicle


I enjoy her writings on love, race, class, gender, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.

It was through reading her writings that I discovered the concept of intersectionality and how it lives amongst us all.

We are all sub-sets of one thing and another thing.


Photo credit: Berea College Magazine


Some of the writings and works of hers that I have loved a lot include:

  1. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center.
  2. And There We Wept (1978).
  3. Teaching to Transgress.
  4. Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism.
  5. Reel to Real: race, sex, and class at the movies (1996).
  6. belonging: a culture of place.
  7. Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood (1996).


Photo credit: Women Chapter


Her family background, I think, led her to seeing life the way she did.

Ms. bell was born on September 25, 1952, to a working-class African American family, in Hopkinsville, a small, segregated town in Kentucky. Watkins was one of six children born to Rosa Bell Watkins and Veodis Watkins.

Her father worked as a janitor and her mother worked as a maid in the homes of white families.


Photo credit: Disorient


Watkins was educated in racially segregated public schools, later moving to an integrated school in the late 1960’s.

She graduated from Hopkinsville High School before obtaining her bachelor’s in arts in English from Stanford University in 1973, and her master’s in arts in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976.

In 1983, after several years of teaching and writing, hooks completed her doctorate in English at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a dissertation on author Toni Morrison entitled “Keeping a Hold on Life: Reading Toni Morrison’s Fiction”.


Photo credit: Philadelphia Gay News


Truth be told,

My life was changed a lot, by bell hooks.

She always reminds of Toni Morrison. Their approach to life was so similar.

It is a shame that in 2021, bell transitioned from life on earth!

I won’t forget her or what I learned from her!


Photo credit: Katherine Grace – Medium


Therefore, I implore you to read her works and listen to all her interviews as religiously as the way you eat your food.

It doesn’t matter what you are or where you come from

You will not remain the same after taking in a bell hooks!